A special taskforce has been established to consider ways of accelerating construction of the Peel Deviation, a traffic bypass east of Mandurah, which will benefit motorists travelling between Perth and the South West.
Premier Richard Court said today that under the project, a 52km ’freeway style’ dual carriageway would be built to take traffic east of the Peel Inlet.
Travel times between Perth and Bunbury could be improved by up to 40 minutes during busy holiday periods and weekends.
The Peel Deviation would divert traffic from the existing Perth to Mandurah Road, north of Mandurah at Lakes Road, carry it east of the Peel Inlet, and link in at the Old Coast Road at Lake Clifton.
“Currently this project is not in the Main Roads WA program for the next 10 years but with traffic volumes building up rapidly in the area, we are keen to explore all of the options to see if we could build it by 2005-06,” Mr Court said.
“An alternative route is certainly going to be needed much sooner than originally envisaged with a planning study undertaken by Main Roads showing the Peel Deviation would be required in around five to seven years.”
Transport Minister Murray Criddle said he has had detailed talks with local government, industry and community organisations in the past few weeks and had established a special working group to look at all the issues.
“The project is an ambitious $136 million proposal and funding is obviously the key issue. We will explore all the options and come up with a realistic timetable for the project,” Mr Criddle said.
“As one option, Main Roads is currently preparing a submission for Federal Government funding under the Roads of National Importance Program.”
The Premier said that the continued growth of the State’s south relied heavily on an effective road link between Perth and Bunbury and the construction of the Peel Deviation would perform an important economic function.
“It’s clear that rapid urban development in the very popular Peel and South West regions is set to continue,” he said.
“The growth rate through Mandurah has been seven per cent for the past decade and this is especially evident along the narrow Mandurah and Dawesville Peninsula.
“The existing coastal route through Peel is taking heavy volumes of traffic, as is the South Western Highway and it is clear that the Peel Deviation now has to be a priority.”
Mr Criddle said that there was a diverse group of regional organisations calling for Peel Deviation to be accelerated.
“I have been able to meet with the many organisations and interests from the Peel and South West regions and the challenge now is to determine how to get the project up and running,” Mr Criddle said.
The groups included the Peel and South West Development Commissions, the Mandurah and Bunbury City Councils, the Mandurah-Peel and Bunbury-South West Chambers of Commerce, the Shires of Waroona, Dardanup, Harvey and Murray and the transport industry generally.
“These organisations have formed a united front because they are keen to cater for more than two million tourists who will benefit from the new road system,” he said
“They are also anxious to accommodate the transport industry that hauls more than five million tonnes of fresh produce and other freight between the South West and Perth each year.”
Mr Criddle said the working group would comprise Alan O’Brien (Minister’s Office), Ken Fisher (Peel Development Commission), Dominique Van Gent (SW Development Commission), Stephen Goode (CEO Mandurah City), Michael Whittaker (CEO Bunbury City) and Main Roads WA.
Environmental clearances for the preferred alignment of the Peel Deviation are currently being obtained and it is anticipated that the alignment will be finalised next year.
Justine Whittome, Premier’s office, 9222 9475
Doug Cunningham, Minister Criddle’s office, 9321 7333